Question: Are the newer high blood pressure medications better than the older ones?
Answer: The question about whether the newer medicines are better than the older ones is really a difficult one to answer because the answer is yes and no. They're better in that they typically have fewer side effects. Some of them have really little side effects like swelling in the legs, or nausea or a dry mouth, but they also come at a higher cost.
The older medicines clearly work as well and research shows that if you're on the least expensive older medicine it reduces your risk of stoke every bit as good as the newer, more expensive medicine. But I tell my patients that I want more than just one benefit from a blood pressure pill. Not only do I want to lower their blood pressure, but I want to reduce their risk of having a stroke and also their risk of having a heart attack. And some of the newer medicines offer sort of a combination benefit in those regards. And so I think it's really important to tailor the blood pressure treatment to the individual patient and their risks. That there really is not a one size fits all strategy like you might be reading about on some of the government websites or in some of the media. It really has to be tailored. This is a good reason to see your doctor and to check with your doctor often to make sure you're on just the right medicine for you. You're the patient and tests should be individualized to help you.